Jennifer Moosa was about to be pricked by a Red Cross needle. The nurse warned her, "It's going to be a little sticky. If you want to turn your head, you can." Moosa closed her eyes. The needle went in, and blood came out.
Ever since she had two nieces born prematurely, giving blood has become a regular part of Moosa's life. "About every eight or 10 weeks, I come give," she said.
Dozens of people just like the Gulfport nurse came to Edgewater Mall. They rolled up their sleeves and donated blood to the Red Cross.
Alva Bennett was from Ocean Springs. "It just seemed like a nice thing to do," he said. "Somebody needs it somewhere."
Maria Carter is well aware of that. Carter is a paramedic. "I work in the medical field. And I transport a lot of people who need blood," she said. "So I wanted to go ahead and do my part and donate."
The blood collected in Biloxi stays in the gulf coast region. It won't go to hospitals in Meridian, where shooting victims are still being treated. According to the Red Cross' Liz Gaulke, that trauma simply reinforced how vital it is to keep blood supplies stocked up whenever possible.
"That's why we try to tell people you've got to be giving blood on a regular basis," Gaulke said. "It doesn't do any good to rush out and give after the disaster happens, after the tragedy happens. You've got to do it ahead of time."
On Tuesday, the Red Cross was in Hancock County, and it collected more than 200 pints of blood. It expected more than 500 pints to be donated at the Harrison County Radio for Red Cross blood drive. The three day event wraps up Thursday at Singing River Mall.